Friday, June 22, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Latch-Key Part 2

Goin' Fishing

The tip of the harpoon kissed my forehead.

"You took long enough Mr. Rook."

"My apologies."

Mr. Rook bent the harpoon in half and rammed it through the barracuda's foot. The barracuda sank its teeth into Mr. Rook's arm as it squealed. His arm jerked away, ripping half of the barracuda's teeth out as it went. The barracuda sank to its knees, blood streaming out its mouth, a river turning to rain that fell to the floor.

The Repentant drew a pistol, leveling it at Mr. Rook's head. The barrel exploded, chunks of steel embedding themselves in his hand. The Repentant gritted his teeth but refused to scream. Trevor fired again, but the Repentant was already moving, snatching a second pistol from his belt. He squeezed off a shot and Trevor slipped to the side. The bullet buried itself in the cologne-drenched man's arm. He turned white and fainted, the bullet wound weeping.

The pirahna swarmed up the center of the car and met Mr. Jonathan. A razor in each hand, he was all teeth and gleaming edges. To the left, a blade parried by wicked claws, the second finding scales, carving an arc across its chest. Snicker slash slice, from the center and the right. His coat sleeve split down the side and his lip curled. The arc-chested pirahna took a razor to the throat and thrashed forward. Mr. Jonathan ghosted past its arms and caught the next pirahna's hand with a downstroke. It drove a knee into his stomach and Mr. Jonathan went doubled over. Its trapdoor mouth opened for his head.

A stone hand caught the pirahna by back the back of the neck and squeezed. It choked, vertebrae turning to dust,

grind your bones to make me bread

and twitched like a marionette. Mr. Rook cut its strings.

The barracuda roared through a mouthful of its own blood, charging Mr. Rook with the harpoon torn from its foot. It tripped and fell, hamstrung. James licked off his switchblade, giggling. He ducked, another of the Repentant's shots going wild, buzzing the top of his mohawk. The bullet shattered the bottle Charles was gulping from, glass tumbling to the floor. The Repentant rolled to the left, tight against the E-Train wall and came up to two shots to the head.

What was left of it.

The moray eel fumbled for a controller.


Charles staggered up before him, eyes bloodshot, cheeks puffed out. He spun his 8-ball lighter out his palm and blew the contents of his mouth at the moray. Click. Light. Dragon's breath. The moray screamed, set alight, and dropped the controller. Two bullets from Trevor thumped into the moray's chest and it went down, mouth open, gasping for air.

A pirahna clutched onto Mr. Rook's right arm, teeth buried in stone. Spinning away from the fourth, Mr. Jonathan rolled over Mr. Rook's leech, razor slipped through its neck, finding the opening between backbones. Its head still clung to Mr. Rook as the body dropped to floor of the car. The fourth and final pirahna charged and met Mr. Rook's outstretched left hand. It closed around the pirahna's head and squeezed. Snapping twigs. Kicked pumpkins. Stepped on sponge.

The barracuda struggled for the controller and pushed the single red button as James rammed one of his knives into its spine. The body of the Repentant began to beep.

Bloody hell.

I stepped to the corpse, drawing out my own knife, slicing open its belly.

"Manfred! Whitfield! Shut it down!"

The twins dove on the corpse. Gnarled stick fingers twisted wires and curled around organs.

"Here here! Cut green!"

"No! Blue!"

"That's a vein!"


"Then green! Cut green!"


We didn't die. The day was beginning to look up.

The cologne-man was still bleeding.

"Mr. Jonathan, go fix that fool up would you?"

He nodded and slid a scalpel down his sleeve. Slit. Pop. The bullet was out. He removed his cravat and bound the bullet hole.

"He'll live to the next stop."

Mr. Rook sighed, prying the pirahna's head from his arm. Trevor was inspecting the Repentant's pistol, shaking his head in disgust. The imps danced merrily, having found a second bottle of Charles' special whisky.

Then they were gone. The pirahna head dropped to the floor. Everyone was silent.

I sat down in my seat next to the bleeding cologne man and shivered. Drafty with that window missing.

The E-Train slid into the South Takt station with a satisfied sigh. The doors cracked open, sliding apart, and the cold statues of the passengers came to life as they fled screaming. I sat and calmly waited.

Four East Fredricksburg Security Associates boarded the train. I whistled as I sat next to the bleeding cologne man.

"What happened?"

"Judge attack sirs. 6 Judges, 1 Repentant with self-detonator. Detonation device is intact but disabled. That's $2,000 for each Judge, $3,000 for the Repentant, and an extra $1,500 for salvaging the bomb."

Heads with bodies. Bodies without heads. Charred eel. Gored barracuda.

"You'll... youll get your money. First we have to get Mr. Jorgensen to a safe location."

"Jorgensen? The Jorgensen?"

The bleeding cologne man stirred, eyes meeting mine. He smiled weakly and extended a hand. I shook it and palmed him my card. He passed out again.

They carried him off the E-Train, one guard staying with me.

"ID number?"


"Your bounty will be processed within the next hour. Are you continuing your passage with us?"

"Yes, I'm heading for Akarin."

He blinked.

"Akarin? The... the train for Akarin just pulled onto Track #3. Hurry and you'll catch it."

"Have a good day."

He did his best to not watch me go. He watched anyway. He'd have nightmares about me now.

Halfway home, seven dead, and my card in the hands of the East Fredricksburg Security Director.

Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad day after all.

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